Travel Alberta Canada
Thirty years ago, my parents traveled to Alberta, Canada for their honeymoon. Because of this, for their Christmas gift last year, I put together an all expense, week long, return trip to Travel Alberta Canada.
My parents have always talked so highly of the mountains, rivers, and lakes of the Canadian Rockies that they had built it up so much I secretly wondered if everything they said was actually true? And I am happy to report that it easily exceeded my every expectation.
The wonderful part about traveling this summer was that Canada is celebrating their 150th and because of that, entry into Canada’s National Parks are free!
Here is an overview of our Day to Day itinerary from our trip to Travel Alberta Canada (and a little into British Columbia). I hope to fill in some more details of the various stops over the coming weeks and months.
To save money on a rental car, we had decided to fly in late the night before and stay at a hotel near the airport that offered a shuttle service to and from Calgary International Airport. Our first morning in town we returned to the airport to pick up the car and then drove the short distance back to our hotel to have a killer breakfast. Seriously delicious omelettes!
30 years ago my parents had spent a day touring the Calgary Zoo, we decided to return and see how much things had changed.
After spending a few hours at the zoo, we jumped (ok not really… we drove) down the street to Prince’s Island Park. It was a beauty of a summer day and the people of Calgary were out and about soaking up the magnificent weather and enjoying time with their family and friends in the park.
We spent the night south of Calgary in a town called High River. Now if you have every watched the television show “Heartland” on CBC in Canada or shown on UP TV here in the US about a ranching family in the Alberta foothills, you may know that High River plays the fictional town of Hudson, Alberta on the show. The town has “Maggie’s Diner” that is used to film some of the show’s scenes, we made sure to swing by and snap a couple of pictures.
We made our way over to the Bar U Ranch near Longview. The Bar U Ranch is a Canadian National Historic Site used to tell the importance of the ranching industry to Canada and its history, as well as, show the day to day life of the people who used to work on the ranch.
Seriously one of my favorite stops of the trip. I loved learning about the Bar U’s history, but honestly I just loved looking around at all of the old buildings, watching the creek trickle through the middle of the ranch giving life to the plants and animals around. I felt as though I had stepped into a historic western romance novel.
After spending a couple hours at the ranch, we started our long drive up to Hinton. It was a bit of a trek, but we kept mostly on Highway 22 officially called “The Cowboy Trail” as it runs through Alberta’s historic cattle ranching country and includes some gorgeous roadside views.
We drove into Jasper and made our way north of town to visit Patricia Lake and Pyramid Lake. Both Lakes were calm and great for taking a canoe out on or getting pictures of the mountains reflecting off the glass-like water. Pyramid Lake has a small island that can easily be accessed for a nice little walk.
When planning our trip I had wanted to do a gondola ride to the top of a mountain, and after reading review after review decided that the Jasper Skytram was going to be the one I went on. It’s not disappointing! The views were out of this world. Like you are looking out of the window of an airplane down over the world. Gives a feeling of being incredibly small and larger than life all at the same time.
From there we made our way over to Maligne Lake where we signed up for a lake cruise to Spirit Island. I have seen numerous Instagram posts of Spirit Island, but to see it in person is just incredible. The island is on the “back” side of Maligne Lake so it’s quite and undisturbed. Truly magical.
Day 4 of our adventures to Travel Alberta Canada, took us on a drive down the Icefields Parkway. The Icefield Parkway is the highway that connects Jasper to Banff, driving right through the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. If you drove straight through the trip would take probably close to 4 hours, but thankfully we planned on taking the whole day for the drive.
There are so many places to stop and take in the splendor and scenes of the mountains, rivers, and lakes. Our stops included places like Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, Columbia Icefield Discovery Center, Mistaya Canyon, Peyto Lake, Bow Lake, and Lake Louise.
Our day in the Banff area started out taking a drive along the Bow Valley Parkway, north of town to Johnston Canyon. The morning was chilly as the hiking trail follows along with the river running through the canyon and is heavily lined with trees casting shade over the path. The lower falls are visible after a short easy hike. The upper falls are further along and have some steeper parts to climb, but the views (and less crowds) made the extra journey worth it.
After the morning workout, heading into Banff was on our to do list. We made stops at Bow Falls, took in the sites of the Banff Springs Hotel from Surprise Corner, walked through the flowers at Cascade Gardens, and shopped our way through downtown Banff.
If I pick one stop on our Travel Alberta Canada trip that to me should not be skipped, it was Moraine Lake. I had seen so many pictures of this place and marveled at the blue hue of the lake and the stunning mountains that surrounded it. And even though there was smoke from neighboring wildfires hovering around the morning we visited, it just added to the mystique of the place.
After dad and I took a canoe around the lake and a quick stop at the gift shop, we decided to drive over to British Columbia and take in a couple stops at the neighboring Yoho National Park. We checked off our list visits to Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake, and the Natural Bridge.
During our stay around the Banff area we had rented a condo in Canmore. Canmore is a short drive south of Banff and a great place to stay just outside the park. Canmore is nothing to discount with great views of its own, as well as shopping and eating options.
I loved taking a walk along the Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk that connected our condo with Canmore’s downtown area. With views like this, our trip to Travel Alberta Canada was hard to leave.